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Breast Imaging


Screening imaging (screening mammograms) — Screening imaging consists of series of x-ray tests of the breast (traditionally 2 mammogram views per breast) that are used to look for evidence of a breast cancer in women who are not having any symptoms of breast cancer.

Diagnostic imaging — Diagnostic imaging consists of a series of additional imaging tests that are done to better evaluate a specific problem that has been identified in a woman’s breast, such as:

  • A palpable lump
  • Bloody nipple discharge
  • A focal, persistent area of pain
  • An abnormality seen on screening imaging

These tests typically include additional mammogram views, ultrasound, and/or MRI. They are performed to help the radiologist identify the problem and determine whether or not a biopsy is necessary.

Breast density — Breast tissue density described on mammograms refers to the glandular tissue of the breast. The glandular tissue is maintained by the hormones produced by the ovaries as a part of menstrual cycles. Generally, younger women who have functional ovaries will have denser breast tissue than postmenopausal women. That said, there is a lot of variability from one woman to the next. Forty to forty-five percent of all women will be described as having dense breast tissue on mammogram. Denser breast tissue makes it more difficult for the radiologist to see abnormalities on mammogram. In addition, some newer studies suggest that women who have dense breast tissue may be at a slightly higher risk for developing breast cancer in the future.

Digital mammograms — A digital mammogram is a two-dimensional x-ray used to detect abnormalities in the breasts. Using these two views, the radiologists are able to “reconstruct” a three-dimensional view of the breast. Overall, mammograms are quite accurate in detecting breast cancers. They will identify 78% of breast cancers present. This test is, however, significantly limited by how dense a woman’s breast tissue is. The greater the density of the breast tissue, the more difficult it is for the radiologist to accurately interpret the mammogram and rule out the existence of a breast cancer.

Breast ultrasound — Breast ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to look for abnormalities in the breast. Because it uses sound waves, there is no radiation exposure. Traditionally, this test has been used in cases where a woman and/or her physician has felt a lump in the breast or when an abnormality seen on mammogram could be a mass. Therefore, this has been traditionally used as a diagnostic test and not a screening test.

Breast MRI — Breast MRI is a sophisticated test that utilizes a combination of magnets and intravenous dye to find evidence of breast abnormalities. It looks for anatomic abnormalities (masses) and blood flow abnormalities that have been shown to be characteristic of breast cancers.

For further more details, Contact Dr.S.Ayyappan has a best experience in Breast imaging treatment at Kumaran hospital in Kilpauk, Chennai.